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Grow Your Business Technology

Choosing the Right CMS Is the First Step to Creating a Content Strategy

Choosing the Right CMS Is the First Step to Creating a Content Strategy
There are several guidelines to follow when choosing a CMS platform. / Credit: CMS image via Shutterstock

It used to be a difficult undertaking to build websites with the ability to be updated regularly.

But rather than using the traditional method of rewriting code every time a website needs to be updated —which is time-consuming and cumbersome — many businesses are now turning to open-source content management systems (CMS) when designing a new website. Open-source CMS platforms allow users to build and customize websites while also managing user registration, system administration, page layout and RSS feeds.  

Michael LaVista, CEO and founder of Web consulting and custom Web development company Caxy Interactive, said one factor in the rise of open-source technology (which means it can be easily updated because its original design is available to anyone) is the diminishing returns on proprietary CMS software.

"One key advantage to the open-source approach is that users can create their own modules to establish new functions or change the website's look in a variety of ways," LaVista told Business News Daily. "Technology is evolving so rapidly that it just makes sense to build a website around a platform that is flexible and capable of rolling with the changes."

LaVista offered several guidelines for businesses to consider when choosing an open-source CMS platform to build their website:

Take a look at the developers. The great thing about open source in general is the community of developers worldwide working to improve platforms and expand capabilities, LaVista said. But different open-source CMS platforms have varying levels of support and documentation available. LaVista recommended that businesses look for platforms that provide help, offer recommendations and deliver extensive how-to guides.

Evaluate available themes and modules.Another major consideration is the variety of themes and modules available and the ease of installation. Find a CMS solution that allows you to update your modules and themes on the fly, without the hassle of downloading files. CMS platforms like Drupal automatically copy, install and update modules and themes, which makes life easier, LaVista said.

Look for CMS platforms with responsive options. Responsive Web design, which allows content to be displayed on mobile screens with minimal scrolling, is controversial among developers, but clients tend to demand it. Make sure your CMS platform provides a variety of starter themes with responsive options so you can start with an effective baseline.

Consider a CMS platform that uses PHP.A widely used server-side language with relatively simple scripting and incredible versatility, PHP owns the majority of the server-side language market and is used on millions of sites, including whitehouse.gov. It can run on a wide range of stacks, including Apache, Linux, Mac and Windows.

Make sure the platform has the customization capabilities you need.Websites have become increasingly commoditized. Web development platforms like Wix.com make it easy for virtually anyone to establish a basic Web presence, and for some businesses, a simple site is all that's needed.

Originally published on Business News Daily

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.